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What Is the Difference Between a Senior Sitter And a Caregiver?

November 17, 2023

There are multiple kinds of caregivers available for hire that significantly improve the quality of life for those they treat. Because each elderly individual will experience things differently, it’s important to tailor the skillset of your hired help to the needs of your aging loved one and those stepping up to aid in their care. 

In this blog, we’ll explore multiple options for in-home companion care, especially highlighting the differences between senior sitters and professional caregivers.

What Is a Professional Caregiver Called?

Professional caregivers are people employed to help care for aging, injured, disabled, recovering, or otherwise in-need individuals. These caregivers are also often called personal health aides or home health aides. Professional caregivers working in this necessary field assist people in need with both medical and nonmedical tasks, from medication management to dressing and grooming to transportation and mobility assistance and more. 

Do Caregivers and Caretakers Mean the Same Thing?

Generally, ‘caregiver’ and ‘caretaker’ are terms that refer to the same kind of profession, which revolves around caring for individuals in need. Some people clarify that the difference between a caregiver and a caretaker is that a caregiver is qualified to provide medical assistance, whereas a caretaker is not. More often, however, people in the field distinguish those two scopes of work with the term ‘caregiver’ vs. ‘companion’ or ‘senior sitter,’ which we cover more below.

What Do You Call Someone Who Sits With the Elderly?

Senior sitters, elderly companions, companion caregivers, elderly sitters, old sitters, private sitters, or day sitters for the elderly are all names for individuals who help provide important nonmedical care to elderly individuals. This role does differ from a professional caregiver or personal health aide because most senior sitters are not qualified to provide medical assistance. Instead, they help out with tasks that are nonmedical in nature, such as companionship, routine setting, and light housework. 

What Are the 8 Responsibilities of a Caregiver?

As we’ve discussed, caregivers can significantly improve the quality of life for those they serve. While each family’s supplemental caregiving needs will differ, some common caregiver duties include:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as personal care tasks like bathing, grooming, toileting, dressing, and mobility.
  • Medication management, including administration, scheduling, monitoring side effects, and keeping records of what was taken and when.
  • Meal preparation and feeding.
  • Mobility and transfers (e.g., from bed to a wheelchair).
  • Medical care, such as injections or monitoring vitals.
  • Emotional support.
  • Coordination of care, including communications with family members and other healthcare professionals.
  • End-of-life care.

What Is the Difference Between an Oldsitter and a Caregiver?

Caregivers and old sitters both offer emotional support and general life assistance to aging individuals. Caregivers, however, typically offer a wider range of services, with a particular focus on aiding an elderly person's activities of daily living (ADLs) and light medical tasks. In addition to receiving specific training for caring for people, caregivers typically hold a CPR certification, and some even hold qualifications as certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Senior sitters, while still qualified to care for elderly individuals, concentrate more on providing companionship, emotional support, and other nonmedical care, often benefitting the family and overall household as much as the individual.

Some responsibilities of an old sitter include:

  • Companionship (the most important senior sitter duty) to alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Emotional support, including active listening and reassurance.
  • Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as personal care tasks like bathing, grooming, toileting, dressing, and mobility.
  • Medication reminders (but not administration).
  • Meal preparation and nutrition management.
  • Light housekeeping.
  • Transportation to errands, medical appointments, or social outings.
  • Engagement in recreational activities, like promoting an individual’s hobbies and routines or assisting them with mental stimulation. 

Senior Home Companions Helps You Care For Your Loved One

If you’re in need of assistance for your seniors living at home, Senior Home Companions is here to help. Our team of skilled care managers can help navigate the home care process and assess your loved one’s needs. Our team of client coordinators works directly with the caregivers to pair them with the most appropriate client. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help care for your loved one(s).